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EDITORIAL: Gun-grabber misfire

Hypocrisy of the gun-control crowd fails to make us safer

- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2011

After the Supreme Court smacked down Chicago's gun ban last year, the gun grabbers scrambled to evade their responsibilities under the Constitution. Outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley revised the Windy City's gun laws to place so many obstacles on the path to gun ownership that few law-abiding citizens would succeed. Now we learn that Mr. Daley wants taxpayers to foot the bill for a team of armed bodyguards to protect him once he leaves office on May 17.

Ordinary citizens who just want to protect their families get no such special treatment. Prospective gun owners must file an application for a Firearm Owner's Identification Card with the Illinois State Police that consists of a check for $10, a passport-size photograph and a 30-day wait for a response. After this, they must take a $130 handgun safety course involving at least four hours of classroom instruction and an hour of hands-on training at the range. Because there are no public ranges in the city, an extra trip to the suburbs is needed.

Next on the list is the Chicago Firearm Permit, which requires an application form, more photographs, copies of the firearms ID card and a driver's license, a set of fingerprints, payment of $100 and another 30-day wait. With permit in hand, a gun may be purchased - but only after another trip to the suburbs and a 72-hour wait. Mr. Daley also cooked up a 14-page list of forbidden weapons, most of which are labeled "unsafe" because he considers them to be scary-looking. The new purchase must be registered with the police within five days, which means filling out yet another form, with multiple photocopies of permits and payment of $15 per gun. If successful, the process must be repeated, as the registration is only valid for a year and the permit expires in three years.

Mr. Daley, who will enjoy a lavish pension of $184,000, will have several handguns protecting him at all times - no paperwork required. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the mayor demanded five bodyguards, highlighting the hypocrisy of the gun grabbing elite.

None of the labyrinthine rules dreamed up by the likes of Mr. Daley improve safety. One of the left's favorite gimmicks is requiring every gun purchased to be test-fired so that shell casings can be "fingerprinted" and entered into a database for use in forensic investigations. New York state has had such a requirement for more than 10 years. So far, the Combined Ballistic Identification System has cost $40 million, used at least 200,000 police man-hours and cataloged 311,859 casings. Not one crime has been solved because of the system, according to the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association. In 2004, the Maryland State Police concluded, "There have been no crime investigations that have been enhanced or expedited through the use of" Maryland's Integrated Ballistics Identification System.

The nation's highest court gave cities and states permission to implement reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. The pointless red tape in Chicago and worthless ballistic testing in New York and Maryland are neither reasonable nor effective. Ordinary citizens ought to have just as much right as former big city mayors to protect themselves.

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